Tag Archives: lesson plan

Curriki: My New Online Education Community (and Friend!)

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The other day I was in a panic because the activity I’d planned months before, a nice webquest of the civilization we are studying, suddenly wasn’t working due to our newly installed firewall at school.  We can, in certain circumstances, request that certain sites be restored, but the process is slow and doesn’t always mean it can be fixed. For instance, I cannot access my own blog (or any other) from school. I’m not complaining, I do understand. I don’t work on personal things at school.

 

But (o.k. a little complaint) there are some teacher blogs that have some great information I’d like to use in my planning and lesson creation.

 

….back to my (then) immediate problem—what to do when your great plans become shambles?  I tried two recently found places that have good lesson plans and background resource materials. The first is curriki, an online learning community started by Sun Microsystems to develop education resources.  There I found a great webquest that did work with our firewall within minutes. While finding it, I came across tons more things I can use.

 

Is it just me, or do other people feel like Alice climbing down the rabbit hole when they start looking for things?

 

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Filed under cheap, classroom, educational video, lesson plan, Lesson Plans, Uncategorized

Fall and Halloween projects for the Classroom (Plant Life Cycles and Pumpkin Math)

Here is a cute yet educational project that is perfect for the season and teaches students about the plant life cycle. It starts with the seed, then the leaf, the flower…until you have an unripe pumpkin and a ripe pumpkin. You can write the numbers of the steps to help students put the life cycle steps in order. The shapes store inside the orange plastic plates that are tied together with green yarn in three places. Just leave the label “Pumpkin Life Cycle” handle hanging out ready to pull.

Here’s the back…..

 

Students can practice reciting the life cycle steps while the shapes are inside the plate holder and “reveal” the answer by pulling out the next step.

 

Another thing I like to do in the fall is to buy pumpkins and let students count how many seeds are in each. If you wait until the day after Halloween, you can really get these cheaply (sometimes free!).

 

Before you begin, estimate the weight height and width of each pumpkin and how many seeds they think will be inside. See who is closest.  Give students some comparable weights of things to help them estimate (toaster? Dictionary? Bowling Ball?)

 

Its fun to estimate which pumpkin IS the biggest, heaviest or has the highest number of seeds inside. They are often surprised to find that asymmetrical pumpkins are deceiving and that the largest pumpkins don’t necessarily contain the largest or largest NUMBER of seeds inside. Sometimes the largest pumpkin is not the DENSEST.

Think about what tools would be needed to compare your pumpkins. Will a ruler do, or would a tape measure help? What units should we use to measure and weigh our pumpkins? A really good lesson is to measure and weigh the pumpkins in two units (e.g. inches vs. meters.)

 

After cleaning their pumpkins you can create a chart that includes the number of seeds that are found in each child’s pumpkin. You can see what the average number of seeds is.

 

There is no end to what you can discover from a project like this. Perhaps you could weigh the pumpkin before and after. Estimate how far the pumpkin seeds would go if laid end to end….

 

I recommend buying pumpkin-carving knives for children when you see them on sale during the fall season.  Many children are not allowed to help in the kitchen (even if there IS someone at home who knows how to cook) They so enjoy being able to carve their own pumpkin.

 

I believe in many Montessori principles at home and in the classroom.  Giving children the skills and tools to discover is very empowering.  As soon as my own children could stand on a kitchen chair they were helping in the kitchen with their pumpkin-carving knives. As a result, they had excellent hand-eye coordination and small motor skills in the early primary years.

 

Don’t forget to roast the pumpkin seeds for a nutritious snack!

 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons butter, melted

1 pinch salt

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bring Election Excitement to Your Classroom

It’s not too late to get your students involved in the election!  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it either.

  

University of Virginia‘s Center for Politics Youth Leadership Initiative has a large number of teacher’s resources, lesson plans and background information for schools to use when teaching about the election.  Enrollment is free and entitles you to a CD which tells you how to run a mock election at your school.

 

If you choose to do a mock election for your school, you can set up a computerized election  through YLI that will be held online between October 20-30, 2008.

 

The League of Women Voters has a great nonpartisan election guide. You can get it here.  The election guide has a section that tells all about the salary, duties, election requirements and term of the President.  But what makes this elections REALLY great is a non partisan short (read: kid-friendly) overview of the three major candidates (betcha forgot Nader!) and their take on the following five issues: global climate change, cost of health care, economic disparity and education.

  

Come to think of it NONPARTISAN is a great word to put on your spelling and vocabulary words this week! For that matter, if you want to learn other election terms and even play a bingo game with students look at this from Education World.

I really LOVE the things that Cybrary man has done with his website. I found his link at teachernet and I think he is one inspiring teacher.  Among other things I found at his site was a link to many pictures and ideas for election bulletin boards, doors and displays.  Here’s a link to his election collection, but I recommend staying to see all the other things he has gathered at his website besides the election.

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Free Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans from Agriculture in the Classroom

Agriculture in the Classroom is a program started by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help students understand where their food comes from.  This is an issue near and dear to my heart. Few Americans truly understand how important and fragile our food system is.  We take it for granted.

 

But it’s not only about that—it’s MUCH more. It’s about integrating math, science, language Arts and social studies in a beautiful way.

 

You can find tons and tons of good quality k-12 lesson plans here.

 

Plus, your state agricultural extension service office has even more resources that can be purchased or rented. 

 

I was lucky to attend an all-day training session last summer that was really terrific. Many hands-on activities in all disciplines were offered.  Your state may also run these trainings for teachers.

 

I think these teacher resources are high-quality!  Let me give you one as an example that I’d like to use. 

 

It’s called “More Than One Grain of Rice: Integrating Mathematics, Geography, and (Agri)Culture” and can be used in grades 4-6.You can get the lesson plan here.

 

Among other things, students identify the major producers of grain and calculate the “Doubling of One Grain of Rice.”  What a great way to teach exponential numbers and geography! Add a little fried rice and you’ve got yourself a really cool lesson!

 

 

 

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